TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shines but not enough to stir investors. Profits and sales beat estimates. Yet the stock sells off in after-hours trading. Why, and what`s ahead?
SUSIE GHARIB, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Slamming the brakes. Some of the top selling cars in the U.S. are no longer being recommended by “Consumer Reports”. We`ll tell you why and which cars are on the list and the most and less reliable.
MATHISEN: Sitting on the sidelines. The S&P hits a new high. The Dow is close to one. But as stocks hit higher, why are individual investors holding off?
All that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Monday, October 28th.
GHARIB: Good evening, everyone.
Well, no love for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) tonight. Investors soured on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares after the market closed, even the company said it sold millions of iPhones, iPads, and earned more money that analysts were expecting in its latest quarter. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares fell more than 2 percent in the after-hours trading.
Here are the results from its fiscal fourth quarter. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) earned $8.26 a share. That was 30 cents more than expected. Revenues also came in higher than analysts estimate, with total sales of $37.5 billion.
One disappointment, guidance on growth margins were lower than expected.
Jon Fortt joins us now from Silicon Valley with more on those results from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).
So, Jon, seems like there was a disconnect between what Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) reported and how investors analyzed. What`s the takeaway there? And also how are things looking for the current quarter?
JON FORTT, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Well, Susie, a little bit of a disconnect. First, the stock down after hours, but still just to about last week`s levels. It`s been on quite a run.
As far as gross margins go, on the conference call, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) management saying, hey, there are a few things here. Some lower priced iPads. Some lower priced Macs. Some head winds from the yen. And we`re giving away more software now.
They said all of that, the deferred revenue involved, will have some pressure on gross margins. But still they`re guiding, you know, up to 37.5 percent which is a pretty good level.
So, we`ll have to see where the stock transferred here. Keep in mind there`s a catalyst coming up when we start to see how those new iPads are selling. That could get investors feeling better or worse.
MATHISEN: You know, Jon, I noted on the conference call that management said that the board was willing to consider virtually anything in terms of capital structure to get the stock price up. I assume that is a veiled reference to Carl Icahn`s activism.
Have you got any intelligence on that?
FORTT: Yes. Maybe so. The stock did pop a little bit when Tim Cook said they`ll be talking to investors again the end of this year. Come early 2014, they`ll announce that they have any changes to their capital return program.
I should also point out the revenue guidance is the most important number in this call. It`s about the money, right? The revenues or the capital returns. That`s what a lot of investors are reacting to.
MATHISEN: Always about the money. Jon Fortt, thanks very much.
Well, on Wall Street today, stocks were little changed. But what change there was, was enough to send the S&P 500 to an all time closing high. The Dow Jones transports also finished at a record.
And since the start of earnings season, the S&P 500 has gained 6 percent. That`s three out of four index companies that have reported profits have surpassed estimates. For stocks today, a slight bump up in industrial production last month helped offset weaker than expected pending home sales. We`ll talk more about those somewhat soggy housing numbers in just a moment.
Here, though, a look at the numbers today. Dow fell just one point. NASDAQ was down three. The S&P was the big winner — up a whopping two points.
GHARIB: The biggest drag on the blue chip Dow stocks today was Merck (NYSE:MRK). Shares of the drug maker fell 2.5 percent after reporting profits fell by a third last quarter.
Bertha Coombs has more on the challenges that Merck (NYSE:MRK) has been facing and what it`s doing to cut costs and boost sales in the future.
BERTHA COOMBS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Merck`s competitors came running through the doors opened by patent expirations, and the giant drug maker has taken a sales hit. Revenues were down 4 percent to $11 billion. The biggest drop, sales of Singulair, a once a day oral treatment for asthma, now 53 percent.
Merck`s patent on Singulair expired in August 2012, allowing lower priced generics on to the market.
Sales of Merck`s biggest seller, Januvia, a type 2 diabetes treatment, were down 5 percent. Merck`s star since it came on the market in 2006, it still did $1.4 billion worth of business last quarter, but Januvia sales have also been dented by competitors.
ALEX ARFAEI, IMG CAPITAL MARKETS: The biggest concern is by far the diabetes franchise, as mentioned, is about 13 percent to 14 percent of revenues, and probably close to 15 percent or 16 percent of their profits, because it`s a very high margin business.
COOMBS: And Merck`s animal health products which usually help their overall numbers were down 2 percent.
(on camera): It has been a while since Merck (NYSE:MRK) has had a new blockbuster drug. And the company`s troubles became even more apparent earlier this month when it said it was cutting 8,500 jobs in an effort to try to reduce annual costs by $2.5 billion.
(voice-over): But the cutbacks could also result in several drugs already in late stage trials being added to the scrap heap.
BARBARA RYAN, FTI CONSULTING: They`ve had some disappoints in research and development. They`ve gone after some novel targets. And those haven`t played out real well.
COOMBS: Merck (NYSE:MRK) does have high hopes for an immune boosting cancer treatment called MK3475, still in early testing. And it`s also getting accelerated reviews from the FDA on two hepatitis C treatments, as the drug maker narrows its focus on products that can actually win regulatory approvals.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bertha Coombs.
MATHISEN: Toyota (NYSE:TM) has some bragging to do, retaining its title as the world`s top selling automaker. Global sales for the first nine months of this year reached 7.41 million vehicles and outpaced number two General Motors (NYSE:GM) by about 160,000 units. And GM sales actually rose by nearly 5 percent from a year ago.
GHARIB: Toyota (NYSE:TM) got more good news from “Consumer Reports”, along with some not-so good news. The magazine is out with its annual list of the most reliable car brands. Toyota`s luxury Lexus division, along with its name sake brand, topped the list, followed by Acura.
But Toyota`s reputation for quality took a big hit when the magazine pulled its recommendation for three of its vehicles, including the nation`s top selling sedan.
We turn now to Phil LeBeau. He covers the automotive industry for us.
And, you know, Phil, it was a really fascinating list to see a lot of Japanese brands in the top 10. But then their top selling cars at the bottom of the list when it comes to reliability.
So, how big of deal is that?
PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: It could be potentially a big deal, Susie. And what we`re talking about here is the recommended or not recommended list from “Consumer Reports.”
And there are five models that “Consumer Reports” came out today and said, we are no longer recommending these. And when you look at this list, what stands out, the top selling models from Toyota (NYSE:TM), Honda and Nissan are all on this list. Now, with regard to the Toyota (NYSE:TM) models and the Camry, “Consumer Reports” cites poor crash results when they were doing crash results with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as a result the best selling car in the U.S. since 1999 is no longer recommended along with the other Toyota (NYSE:TM) models from “Consumer Reports.”
As for the Accord and Nissan Altima, both of them scored too low in the latest “Consumer Reports” survey on reliability for them to qualify for recommendation. By the way, they are best selling cars for Honda and Nissan. Not a good day for the Japanese automakers when it comes to recommendations from “Consumer Reports.”
MATHISEN: That`s really just amazing to me because those cars you mentioned, the Accord, the Altima, and the Camry, have been recommended for so long.
Let`s turn to Ford, the domestic brand, along with other domestic brands, are four of the five least reliable, Phil, out of the 28 rated. Has the big three taken a step back? Why is Ford so low?
LEBEAU: They`re all struggling with infotainment and connectivity issues. You know, that`s the big push right now in the auto industry. They want to have the Sync System from Ford or Cadillac has the Q System. Well, these systems have had a lot of bugs in them. They`re not functioning as people expect them to when they`re buying these vehicles.
That`s why Ford ranks 26th out of 28 brands in the latest “Consumer Reports” survey. They`ve also had problems with their eco-boost engine.
The bottom line is this: with these electronic issues, it`s a combination of some of them not functioning as well as they should and also consumers are saying, I`m not getting the help that I think I need, either from the dealership or from the automaker, so that I know how to use these systems. And as a result, people feel like, hey, I spent $30,000 or $35,000 on a car and I can`t have it read back my e-mails. That`s what I thought it would do.
GHARIB: Yes. You know, Phil, it`s one thing to have problems with the electronics. It`s another thing when these cars aren`t doing well in crash tests.
GHARIB: So, to what extend are these ratings going to impact actual car sales?
LEBEAU: I don`t think a huge impact, Susie. And think about it this way. The Camry, a few years ago when the unintended acceleration issues accelerated, and it was all over the place, the Camry was still the best selling vehicle in the U.S. And it`s likely to stay on top this year as well.
GHARIB: All right. We`ll see about that. Thanks so much, Phil. Phil LeBeau reporting from Chicago.
Well, for more on the “Consumer Reports” reliability study, go to our Web site, NBR.com.
And still ahead, a key gauge of housing tumbles. Find out what it could mean for the value of your home.
MATHISEN: A significant setback in the housing recovery in September. Pending home sales, those are deals that are signed but not yet closed, fell much more than expected 5.6 percent last month. That made them head down for the fourth month in a row. Realtors say a combination of rising mortgage interest rates and skyrocketing home prices have kept some would be buyers on the sidelines.
And that news sent shares of some of the nation`s home builders down today. Builders like D.R Horton, Pulte Homes and Lennar (NYSE:LEN) all lower by a fraction. Shares of the builder Hovnanian fell nearly 2 percent.
GHARIB: And joining us now to talk more about housing trends and stocks to own, Will Randow. He is U.S. home-building analyst at Citi.
Will, welcome to the program.
What`s your take on this report? Is this the beginning of a downward trend?
WILL RANDOW, CITI: Well, thanks for having me, first.
Second, I`d like to say the pending home sales index has been down for about three to four months, month over month. In the prior months, we still saw existing home sales from a sour basis up because transaction days were actually declining, basically transactions dropping more quickly.
I think what`s happening here, what we`re seeing, one, it`s somewhat seasonal, we`re seeing a decline. But we cannot deny that the pace of recovery in housing is in question.
From a pending perspective, we saw some slowness regionally. What I would say is I think as we get into next year, we`ll have a better firmness on how much we`re going to grow, what pace that recovery might come to. But we`ll get a few speed bumps along the way. I think that`s what`s happening.
MATHISEN: Does a slowdown in pending sales presage a slowdown in actual sales in the months looking forward?
RANDOW: As we went back the past few months, the slowdown that occurred in the pending home sales index actually was not reflected.
MATHISEN: Oh, really?
RANDOW: There were increases in existing home sales because the transaction days were actually declining, because it was easier to get a purchase mortgage for the channel as opposed to heavy re-fi volume which was declining.
I think as we go forward I would expect to see existing home sales level off, maybe slow a bit as we get towards year end like it typically seasonally does. But the one thing we do have to take into account is in October, you did have some tightness in the mortgage side, the FHA was down to 4 percent of its staff. Fannie and Freddie also, you have income verification slowness in regards to the IRS, because they were shut down.
So, there was a shot to the consumer. We can`t deny that. There was a slowdown that started in July at least new residential demand. So, we are slowing a bit. There are some hiccups that caused it to be a little worse than one might perceive at first blush.
GHARIB: You know, Will, when you look the earnings report from this sector, from home builders during this latest earnings season, not bad. They were pretty good. You have a couple stocks that you are recommending: D.R. Horton (NYSE:DHI), William Lyon Homes and Brookfield Residential Properties. And those stock charts are going to come up in a second.
Tell us why you like those three.
RANDOW: So, with William Lyons, you are exposed to the West, primarily California, Las Vegas, Phoenix. Now, those markets are getting possibly frothy. The basis of William Lyon`s land is probably 20 percent of that below the peer set. So, intrinsically there`s more value on the book.
Brookfield Residential Properties, it`s similar. There`s only three analysts that cover that company as we know it. About a year back, the company gave us the undiscounted book value of essentially their assets which was a little over $40 per share for stock trading in the mid to low 20s. So, from that perspective, you might have a double up in the next few years with Brookfield Residential Properties.
On D.R. Horton (NYSE:DHI), I believe the first time home buyer is going to eventually come back as the purchase side of mortgage origination is loosening. We are seeing some evidence of that in the past few months. So, that`s one of the key drivers there.
MATHISEN: As you look at the data that came out today and as you analyze the numbers, you know, home prices have been rising year over year at about 12 percent for most of this year. Do you think that is sustainable? What do you think they`re going to rise over, say, the next 12 months?
RANDOW: I tend to think, though, there`ll be more of a moderated pace. Now, we have existing home sales inventory, meaning supply, about five months today. So, that is going to imply that we`ll continue to see price increases. But I think that will get more gradual, call it down to a low single digit pace as we go forward.
GHARIB: All right. Lots of good information, Will. Thank you so much.
RANDOW: Thank you.
GHARIB: Will Randow, U.S. home building analyst at Citi.
MATHISEN: Well, the S&P 500 is up 24 percent this year. The index has had double digit gains in four of the past five years.
That ought to be enough to attract individual investors into the market, right? Wrong.
Mary Thompson reports on why the little guy remains wary.
MARY THOMPSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On Wall Street, the stock market keeps moving up. Giving rise to main street investor Tom Fox`s fear it will soon be going down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It makes me nervous that it`s going to go the other way.
THOMPSON: Even as the Dow marches to 16,000 and the S&P 500 hits record highs, data suggests retail investors remain cautious. Pulling money from U.S. stock funds and making modest trades at discount brokerages.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really sort of a hold scenario. Not more likely to invest because not seeing a whole lot of upside. But not necessarily going to take anything out because why not ride what`s really just profit?
THOMPSON: From May of 2011 through August of this year, domestic stock funds saw net monthly outflows in 25 of those 28 months. This September`s numbers aren`t final, but weekly figures suggest another monthly outflow. And the exodus continued in two of the three weeks recorded so far for October.
But recent data from discount brokerages like Charles Schwab shows year over year. Its clients` average daily trades increased 19 percent in the third quarter. They`re up 13 percent at rival E*TRADE, though both firms saw declines from the second quarter`s activity.
The mixed data reflecting the market`s recent choppiness marked by lows linked to Washington`s budget battle and the now vanished fears the Federal Reserve would end its easy money policy.
(on camera): As those fears retreated, stocks are at record highs. A run that looks alluring to investor Pat Willis.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m actually considering it right now because of the market, and, like, trying something on my own.
THOMPSON (voice-over): As other investors like Don Lansing are content to ride the record wave, until the tide goes out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me, it`s neutral. It`s neutral. I`m a trend following investor. So as long as it`s going up, I`m onboard.
THOMPSON: For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Mary Thompson.
GHARIB: Encouraging words from JCPenney CEO Mike Ullman sent shares higher. And that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.
Ullman reaffirmed that the retailer expects positive sales in the third quarter and said that sales trends are improving they`re announced to announce third quarter results November 15th. The stock popped almost 9 percent to $7.39.
Reports that drug maker Dendreon (NASDAQ:DNDN) is looking for a possible buyer sent its shares way up. The search for a suitor comes with weaker that expected sales of the company`s lead product, a prostate cancer drug. The stock surged 11 percent to $2.81.
Sales of Biogen Idec`s multiple sclerosis drug topped analysts` estimates, giving that stock a boost. The drugmaker reported better than expected earnings and raised its full year forecast because it expects demand for the drug to continue to be strong. Shares rose a fraction to $254.43.
MATHISEN: Edward Life Sciences reported better than expected earnings. That wasn`t enough to move shares higher. Investors were disappointed with U.S. sales of the medical device company`s nonsurgical artificial heart valve, and its weak guidance for the fourth quarter. The stock plunged about 5 percent to $73.24.
A deal in the fertilizer industry to tell you about. Shares of CF Industries (NYSE:CF) climbing after Mosaic (NYSE:MOS) announced it would buy the company`s phosphate business. The U.S. fertilizer maker Mosaic (NYSE:MOS) is going to pay $1.2 billion for CF`s phosphate mining and manufacturing unit. The deal sent shares of CF up about 4 percent to $218.36. Mosaic (NYSE:MOS) also up by 1.5 percent to $46.67.
AMC and Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) International are also in the midst of a deal. Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) is selling its international content division Chellomedia to AMC for about $1 billion. The deal will help AMC expand its global outreach and distribute popular shows like “Breaking Bad” overseas. Shares of AMC slipped a little to $69.90. Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) was up more than 1 percent to $81.12.
GHARIB: Are you happy with your job? If not, things may get better as you get older. A new study by “The Associated Press” and the Newark Center for Public Affairs Research finds that nine out of ten workers aged 50 and older say they`re either very or somewhat satisfied with their job. And those results cut across all gender, race, educational and income levels in the survey.
MATHISEN: I`m happy. I`m happy. I promise you.
A lot of those older workers may have to keep working, folks. A new survey says more and more people over the age of 50 are accumulating more debt. And in order to pay it down, they`re saving less for retirement.
Sharon Epperson has the story.
SHARON EPPERSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It sounds like a lot of money. American workers stash away over $300 billion, including employers` matching contributions, into 401(k) accounts and other defined benefit plans every year. But it still may not be enough.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I definitely think I`d like to put more away for my spending money towards my 401(k) if I could.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t want to put too much into 401(k). I don`t have that much leftover to put for savings.
EPPERSON (on camera): That`s the new reality. The majority of Americans with 401(k) accounts or other employer sponsored retirement plans are accumulating debt faster than they`re saving for retirement. That`s according to a new report from the financial services website hello wallet.
(voice-over): Money that retirement plan participants spent to pay down debts has risen nearly 70 percent in the past 20 years.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It got more expensive and less income. So, I put away as much as I can, but certainly not as much as I`d like to.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not contributing anything to my 401(k) because I can`t even pay my bills.
EPPERSON: The problem is most pronounced were those closest to retirement, those over the age of 50.
MATT FELLOWES, HELLOWALLET FOUNDRE & CEO: Fifty percent of those workers are building up debt faster than savings. It`s just a remarkable stat, because you`d expect most people at that point to be deleveraging, paying back their mortgage, paying off their student loans, or already paid off their student loans.
EPPERSON: The study found retirement plan participants between 50 and 65 years old spend an average of 22 percent of their income paying down debt. The result is these older workers only have about two years of retirement income saved. Not much of a change over the past two decades.
Yet Americans are living longer. And will typically need about 17 years` worth of retirement income after age 65.
Increasing your retirement savings contributions is certainly an important step in building assets. But financial advisers say it`s crucial to pay attention to the other side of the ledger, too.
SHERYL GARRETT, GARRETT PLANNING NETWORK: Take a look at not only your savings rate for retirement, but look at your net worth statement, your balance sheet. How much do you owe versus how much you own? And make sure it`s always heading in the right direction.
EPPERSON: And then manage cash flow, which may require reducing expenses in order to ultimately reach your retirement goal.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Sharon Epperson.
MATHISEN: And for more advice on how to reach your retirement goals, logon to our Web site, NBR.com.
GHARIB: And coming up on the program, the big breakup. After 40 years, why is McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) cutting ties with a product almost everyone uses? Heinz ketchup.
MATHISEN: An update now on negotiations over insider trading charges between the government and hedge fund SAC capital. A settlement with the firm is expected to be announced as early as this week with the company likely to pay at least a billion dollars in fines and admit guilt related to the charges. That would mean that SAC would no longer be able to manage public money.
GHARIB: Quarterly earnings at burger king were a whopper. Earnings soared and came in higher than analyst estimates, thanks to reducing costs and selling more of its restaurants to franchisees. Global sales rose nearly 1 percent. And Burger King also raised its dividend.
The world`s number three burger chain also credited sales of specialty items like a bacon ice cream sundae and a burger with fries already on it. It`s also seen early promise for its new Satisfries, those lower calorie crinkle cut French fries. Shares jumped more than 5 1/2 percent to $20.88.
MATHISEN: You said a bacon ice cream sundae.
All right. Burger King arch nemesis of the world`s biggest hamburger chain is one reason McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) is making a big change in which ketchup it buys. It`s got a lot of people talking.
Jane Wells explains.
JANE WELLS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For over 40 years, Heinz and McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) have gone together like ketchup and French fries.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Heinz is always first thing I always go for.
WELLS: But Heinz is no longer cutting the mustard for McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m surprised. Did they make a deal with somebody else? I mean, it`s like a staple.
WELLS: The world`s largest restaurant chain by sales is ending its relationship with America`s largest ketchup manufacturer, citing management changes at Heinz.
Ah, the plot thickens. It turns out the new co-owners of Heinz also own Burger King. Heinz`s new CEO was the CEO of Burger King. So one could argue what`s good for Heinz is good for Burger King. And that`s not good for McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD).
(on camera): But is dropping Heinz really a big deal for McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD)? Is it more PR move than business? Let me think.
WELLS: Hold on. Still thinking.
WELLS: Actually, not that big of deal businesswise. McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) has already reduced its use of Heinz. It`s only using it in two U.S. markets. Minneapolis and Heinz`s hometown of Pittsburgh. Plus, it uses it internationally.
So, where is McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) getting most of its ketchup? It says it sources from a variety of suppliers and most customers will experience absolutely no change in taste.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doesn`t mean anything to me. Ketchup is ketchup.
WELLS (voice-over): But McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) is squeezing out Heinz just as Burger King promotes new French Fries. And while many have tried and failed to dislodge the popularity of McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) fries, perhaps Burger King hopes the right ketchup can help it catch up.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Jane Wells, Los Angeles.
GHARIB: And finally, the Ellis Island Museum reopened today, a day ahead of the one-year anniversary of superstorm sandy. It`s been closed since the storm flooded the island, filling its basement archives and destroying computers used to research ancestral records. The island and its main hall was the first stop for 12 million immigrants entering the United States and sits right next door to the statue of liberty. The $21 million, 18 month restoration project is still ongoing.
MATHISEN: And recapping our top story. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) beat earnings estimates. Investors initially sold off the stock on concerns of future margin pressure. But shares have since erased those losses.
GHARIB: And we`ll see how they do tomorrow.
MATHISEN: We will, indeed.
GHARIB: That`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Susie Gharib. Thanks so much for watching.
MATHISEN: And I`m Tyler Mathisen. Thanks from me as well. Have a great evening, everybody. We`ll see you back here tomorrow night.
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